Quilt Lost During Piedmont Tornado Returned Home

Thursday, May 24th 2012, 10:29 pm
By: News 9

A quilt, lost after the May tornadoes in Piedmont, has finally returned to its owner.

For one whole year, that quilt was at the Piedmont Service Center waiting to be found. There were a few clues to whose quilt that belonged to, yet no one found its owner and family until now.

The quilt had 20 hand-stitched dresses on it, all with girls' names below the pattern. The service center held on to the quilt for months now, and were happy to have News 9 share in the happy reunion for a family, their home, and hope of ever finding the quilt after the May 24 tornado.

"You recognize all these names?" Piedmont Service volunteer, Mary Growe asked.

"Granddaughter, granddaughter, granddaughter, friends," Grammie said.

Shirley Wright, better known as Grammie, sat with her daughter, granddaughter and brand new grandbaby to inspect the mystery tornado quilt. She made the quilt by hand. Though, she wasn't made aware that the quilt had gone missing in the first place.

"We didn't tell her, we didn't want to upset her," Piedmont tornado survivor and Shirley's daughter Lisa Pischel said.

Grammy made three quilts just like the one found in a farm field following the May 24, 2011 tornadoes in Oklahoma. Grammie never knew the one she gave her granddaughter Amanda was lost in last May's tornado.

3/14/2012 Related Story: Owners Sought For "Special Quilt" Lost In Tornado

The storm ripped through Piedmont, destroying her daughter's home and sending the quilt flying some five or six miles away.

"We just thought it was one of the casualties, just tried to put it behind you and focus on something else," Lisa said. "It's not ripped. It's not torn. It's all in one piece, just got a few faded spots, few battle wounds, but that's it. It's amazing it did so well."

"Oh, I'm thrilled! I'm thrilled. It looks like it's in pretty good shape to me considering the traveling it did, all by air," Grammie said.

Grammy's daughter couldn't help but cry thinking about all she lost that day.

"So many people just went out of their way to reunite us with this quilt, so it's just very touching," Lisa said. "It's been a rough year."

"It took me two or three months to make it because you cut out every pattern, you make it, you put it all by hand," Grammie said.

The Pischel family lost their home that day and they're still struggling to rebuild. But they can't thank the Estell family enough, for finding the quilt.

"You wouldn't believe what it looked like before." Mom and Piedmont neighbor, Cindy Estell said.

The Estells found the quilt out in a farm field. They washed it up and turned to the Piedmont Service Center to help find the owners, and they asked News 9 for help.

"Something like a tornado happens and all of these people from everywhere come out and so supportive and helpful, it's really, really a blessing," Lisa said.

"I just hope you rebuild your lives and are blessed in every way you and your family," Estell said.

"It's got so much more story to it now. It'll be that much more sentimental," Lisa said.

And Piedmont is full of Grammy's family

"Way to go grammie!" someone yells and honks while News 9 chats with Grammie.  

"Another daughter," Grammie laughed. "Those baby girls at my age, I'm not going to be able to be doing a lot of this."

Overwhelmed, the family sat together, reflecting on the treasure, stitched with care, and thought of all the warmth and laughter it's brought them.

"It's got a good story before, it's got a great story now," Lisa said.

Grammie also goes by Nanny. She has 12 grandsons and 16 great grandkids. Her husband says he saw our story and thought he recognized the Dutch quilt girl pattern, but he says Grammie was too busy knitting booties for new grandbabies that when she looked up, the story was over.